“Awareness and understanding of climate change and its effects will develop concern among Filipinos, which later on would lead us towards acting on this global phenomenon.”
This cuts across the different sectors of the society namely government, media, the academe, the private sector, and the youth as all should unite in taking care of the environment, according to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio during the August 1 launch of climate change advocacy campaign in Metro Manila.
Ignacio said that the country, which was once rich in natural resources, currently has the smallest forest coverage in southeast Asia, covering only one-fourth of its total land area.
“With this, the Philippines is one of the countries most at risk due to climate change. According to studies, at the end of the 21st century, water level in the country will rise to three (3) feet, and many of our towns will then become coral reefs,” he explained particularly to the students of the Mines Elementary School who were in attendance during the said affair.
Held at the PIA Auditorium of the PIA Central Office in Diliman, Quezon City, the launch of the Climate Change Advocacy Campaign in the National Capital Region (NCR) is the beginning of a massive information and education drive on climate change for Metro Manila residents that will help raise their consciousness on the said phenomenon.
The project, spearheaded by DENR-NCR and PIA-NCR, will make use of various media to cater to the information needs of the different information consumers in NCR. Among the activities to be carried out throughout the year are puppet shows in public schools, video features, social media campaign, print and broadcast media, social mobilization for tree-planting and youth camps, e-comics posting, etc.
PIA-NCR Regional Director Riza Baldoria said that everyone should be concerned and should take the responsibility to act to curb the effects of climate change.
Using the five Ks (Kaalaman (Awareness), Kamalayan (Consciousness), Kahandaan (Preparedness), Kakayahan (Capability), and Kaisahan/Korrdinasyon (Unity) explained by PCOO Secretary Sonny Coloma during the July 18 nationwide launch of climate change campaign, she said that the fight against climate change would lead to more positive results.
“The activities to be implemented in NCR are vital in providing relevant information to the people on climate change, its impacts, and adaptation and mitigation measures,” Baldoria said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Jess Anthony Yu said that at the wake of devastating calamities such as typhoon Ondoy and Habagat that hit Metro Manila in the past years, a significant number of people need to know what climate change really is.
“Filipinos should change their perspective on how to deal with climate change. Everyone in government should not only do his or her job in information dissemination, we should all be advocates of a well-informed citizenry ready with the effects of climate change. It is our duty to provide information for the safety and benefit of our fellow men,” Yu urged the members of the government’s communication arm who would also play a key role in the climate change advocacy campaign.
Meanwhile Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Jose Mari Oquiñena reminded the stakeholders in the country’s battle with climate change to “have the passion and make it a personal decision to take care of the environment.”
He said that we have to go back to what is natural to us, and that is “taking care of the home we are in—a decision to make for the greater good.”
He also challenged the younger generation to remind the old that being a hero is an opportunity and a calling for everybody.
“We should bear in mind to try our best so that when our time ends, we can say to our children how much love we have given for the environment, and how we changed the things we have to change for them to enjoy the environment we have now… We didn’t have to compromise our values, something the next generation should also do in order to see the beauty there is here,” Oquiñena added.